Today’s Pedal Line Friday submission is from David Kerwood. If you have a pedal line (doesn’t have to be in a board) for your rig, please email me a photo, bio, description of pedals and routing to email@example.com. Every Friday I’ll showcase a pedal line submission. Make sure you include any links to your band or music page.
Pedal Line Friday – 4/18 – David Kerwood
You published my pedal line back in 2014, but I’d like to provide an update.
Guitars: -Gibson Les Paul Traditional Pro – I love the option to split the humbucker coils, and the lack of pickup covers definitely brightens the guitar, which pairs well with my single coil guitars.-Fender Standard Stratocaster – everything you expect out of a Stratocaster. In the current set, 95% of my clean tones are played on this guitar.-Custom built “Trashy” Telecaster – This was built by a luthier in New York. I asked him to make it look like somebody played it every night in a smoky blues bar, then threw it in the trunk without a case next to the tire iron for 40 years. He delivered. He then found pickups that sounded every bit as trashy and aggressive as the guitar looks. This guitar is pure rock and roll.
Amps:-Traynor YCV40WR (performance rig) – Very Fender-ish with a little more of an aggressive quality to it. Like the quiet guy at the office who you just discovered also does MMA.-Engater Tweaker 15 (practice rig) – The Tweaker sounds so good on nearly every setting. I will often record with this amp because the on-board gains are so good.-Tech 21 Character Blonde (direct to PA/silent stage option) – More about this below.
Board: I had a builder in Kansas City create a custom board for my needs with power and input/output jacks built in. This way, all my power supplies can be stored neatly under the board.
Korg Pitch Black Tuner: Still love this tuner – it’s bright even in sunlight, and is a great mute switch after a song.
Blackout Effectors Twosome: So glad I found this box of fuzz. The Musket side is an infinitely tweakable Big Muff, which I use as high gain option #2. The Fix’d side covers so much ground that it’s ridiculous, but I’m using it as a low gain option #2.
JHS Mini Foot Fuzz: A very aggressive silicon fuzz – I’ve found it to be shockingly good with slide guitar.
AMT WH-1 wah: Still really dig the voice of this wah. Different than the standard wahs, but really cool. I also of course love the size. I do need to always consider space for my heel below the pedal, or I’ll end up mashing knobs.
EHX Pitch Fork: This little pedal is amazing – I use it right now for octave up, 12 string, and shimmer effects. Rather than use a boost for solos, sometimes a little bit of octave is all you need to make a solo pop through.
JMK Limited Edition Orange Compressor: Bummed that Canadian builder JMK is no longer doing pedals, because I really enjoy this pedal. I use it more as an audible effect – chicken picking, tapping, or really punchy distortion. One knob (with some internal pots). Set and forget.
Danelectro CTO-1: A cheap pedal, but man, does it sound great! I use this as my primary low gain option, both to make my Les Paul a little more hairy and to thicken up my Telecaster’s clean tone.
MI Audio Blues Pro: I really like this overdrive. It’s reportedly based on the Tubescreamer circuit, but it’s a lot more saturated and less mid-heavy than a typical TS. This is my primary mid-gain tone for all guitars.
Visual Sound Jekyll & Hyde V2: This pedal by Visual Sound (now Truetone) has been my main tone for the past fifteen years. The Jekyll side is a basic TS808 circuit, with great cut. It functions as my second mid-gain tone – a little more punchy without being as saturated. The Hyde side is a Marshall-style distortion which sounds really great. The original grey V1 (which I had from 2002 until 2010 or so) had a Rat-style filter knob for EQ, but I greatly prefer the separate EQ knobs. One of these days I may even move to the new V3 with even more options, but for now the V2 works just fine.
Tornado Alley FX Boost: Very simple boost. Set for just 3 or 4 dB of boost for solos.
VFE Old School Tremolo: I use this for more subtle warbles. Usually it’s set pretty quick but mixed fairly low.
EHX Freeze: Great for laying a keyboard-esque pad underneath the band. I will often run this into my M9’s Particle Verb for infinite swirls. I do a lot of level adjustment with my foot.
Line 6 M9: The M9 is my “everything else” pedal. Its primary functions are: a) extreme tremolo (foot control adjusts the shape from square to V wave and a little bit of mix), b) phaser (foot control adjusts feedback), c) 3 different delay types (foot control adjusts from regular to infinite feedback), and d) drippy “Cave” reverb. I also have an entire scene set up for “pads” – Particle Verb into a barberpole phaser into an analog delay. One footswitch controls the feedback of the phaser so I can sweep it in and out and keep it out of the way of main vocals; the second controls the mix of the Particle Verb so I can go from 100% to 50% and get some clean guitar in front of it.
Two more pedals that are always in the pedalboard case and are invaluable when you need them:
MXR 10-Band EQ: Absolutely critical when the room won’t let you dial in exactly what you need. Really useful when you need to use a house amplifier and don’t want to revoice your entire pedalboard. Works well for a guitar that sounds drastically different than your primary guitar. Also can sound great in the effects loop of the amp if you want to be louder without overdriving the preamp (or if you want to overdrive the preamp harder without the associated volume). It can serve as a standalone boost or cut for solos, voicing, or even just to give a little “juice” to the tone with the gain at full (and volume at minimum to make up for it). Great pedal to have around when you need it.
Tech 21 Character “Blonde” Amp Simulator: Anyone who has ever run a distortion pedal directly into the PA system knows how terrible it can sound. The Blonde serves as a backup in case we play in a venue that requires plugging direct to PA, or in the unfortunate (but inevitable) event that my main amp malfunctions. It certainly beats lugging another amp around, and is far superior to not playing the gig. It also works really well on its own as a minimalist approach. I use this pedal at church on a fairly regular basis when my main rig is in the practice space.
Finally, I just became an endorser of Covenant Cables. My board is about 1/2 wired with Covenant Cables right now, and they sound great! The ability to get them custom made to my specs is invaluable. My hope is to get it finished off with CC products within the year.